Guide to Butte, Montana for Visitors
Are you planning a visit to the “Richest Hill on Earth” anytime soon? That would be Butte, Montana, for those who don’t know about the vast history and beauty of this less-visited area of Montana.
Whether you are in Butte for work, spending some vacation days in the city, or you were brought in last minute after spotting the famous Our Lady of the Rockies statue from the Interstate, you may be surprised by the number of great things to do in Butte — and we are here to help you learn exactly what it is you can do there.
Butte was initially established in the mid-1800s as a mining camp, eventually became the county seat and is home to over 30,000 people. This town has had enormous success in the mining and smelting operations, which has driven over $48 billion worth of revenue to the area. This rich history is the basis for much of the great things to do in Butte.
What to Do in Butte, Montana
Our Lady of the Rockies
I already mentioned this famous statue once, but it is definitely worth mentioning again. The construction of the Our Lady of the Rockies statue began in 1979, and was finished in 1985. The Statue itself is in the likeness of Mary, Mother of Jesus, but is said to be non-denominational and is dedicated to women everywhere. As the second tallest statue in the United States (the tallest is the Statue of Liberty), Our Lady of the Rockies deserves a visit. The statue can be visited for tours during the summer and early Fall, otherwise you can visit the Our Lady of the Rockies gift shop.
World Museum of Mining
Do you have an interest in mining? Are you intrigued by the deep history of mining in Montana? If you said yes to either of these things, then you need to visit the World Museum of Mining! There is a recreation of an old mining town (think re-created western town, but with a focus on mining), REAL mines which you can go into, and there is also a mineral room where you can get an idea of the minerals that are mined in the area.
While you are at the museum you also get to spend some time checking out old mining equipment. If you want the real experience, you can take a tour of the museum, often led by retired miners.
Just to throw a little weird into the mix, inside of the World Museum of Mining you can also find the Doll Museum. Don’t miss a visit to this!
MBMG Mineral Museum
Once you finish at the World Mining Museum, make sure to head on over to Montana Tech and visit the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Mineral Museum.
With over 10,000 specimens (1,000 on display), this museum is home to one of the greatest mineral and rock collections in the world, including several meteorites and a large gold nugget which was found in the Butte area.
Butte Trolley Tour
If you want a fun, and relatively quick history lesson on the town of Butte, take a trip on the Butte Trolley tour. This tour is a really fun way to learn about the history of Butte. This trolley tour is inexpensive and only takes about two hours.
Downtown Butte Walking Tours
Have you ever taken a walking tour? They are usually an awesome way to learn about the history and culture of an area, and the Downtown Walking Tours of Butte are no different.
The Downtown Walking Tours in Butte are a great way to really see the history of Butte in an up close and personal way. These guided walking tours are available from late spring to early fall, however, you can make a special request for tours during the colder seasons.
Due to there being over 5,000 different historic buildings plus other historic sites and mines, there are several different types of tours available, including decade-specific tours. All tours are family friendly, and equally interesting to adults and kids alike.
Copper King Mansion
Lifestyles of the rich and famous, anyone? If you were a fan of that show (do you even remember that show?), you will love going to visit the Copper King Mansion. This 34-room Victorian mansion was the home of William Andrews Clark. Mr. Clark was on of the Montana “Copper Kings,” and as such, became one of the wealthiest men in the world. The mansion was built in 1888 at a cost of $500k, which was a massive amount of money at the time (roughly $13m today). The mansion is available to tour late spring through early fall, and it is also a bed and breakfast during the summer months.
Mother Lode Theatre and Orphan Girl Children’s Theatre
Are you a lover of the arts? Did you know that you can catch a great show in Butte, Montana? You can! The Mother Lode Theatre is a wonderful place to visit to see local, regional as well as national touring productions. This is also where to head in Butte when you want to see the symphony or head to a concert. If there is a show playing while you are in town, you should definitely check out this theatre.
Granite Mountain Mine Memorial
Mining is a huge part of the history of Butte and there is no question in anyone’s mind that mining is an incredibly dangerous profession. The Granite Mountain Mine Memorial is a memorial that was created in memory of the miners who lost their lives in a terrible fire that took place in the Granite Mountain Shaft in 1917. This fire was the cause of the loss of 168 miners, which is the most fatalities in metal mining history. As tragic as this disaster was, there were also incredible stories of survival, as well as rescue and recovery operations that saw the whole community come together to help.
The Granite Mountain Mine Memorial is a place to learn the history of this disaster, remember those lost and also learn a lot about mining itself.
Nearby places to visit when you are in Butte, Montana:
If you are looking for a day trip while in Butte, Montana, you have no shortage of opportunities! Here are some great ideas for you:
Glacier National Park (4 hours away)
Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park (42 miles away)
Grant-Kohrs Ranch (40 miles away)
Whether you’re visiting Butte during a Montana road trip, are using it as a base during your time in Montana, or want some fun things to do in Butte while visiting friends and family, you’ll be able to find history and entertainment during your stay in this historic city.